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University grows its own

Students with Rye's homegrown produce

The Ryerson Farmer’s Market will open May 13.

Since the reopening of the renovated Hub cafeteria in 2014, Ryerson has seen a reinvention of the Food Services menu with an emphasis on local food. As of this Earth Day, Ryerson Eats’ menu options are now more than 30 per cent locally sourced.

“The things that we imported have to be imported for good reason, like oranges and bananas,” said Joshna Maharaj, assistant director of Ryerson Food Services and executive chef. “The vast majority of staple produce – onions, carrots, potatoes – are always local.  We do not buy apples that come from anywhere but Ontario, and if we don’t have them, we’ll buy something else.

“If you are looking to make a more meaningful connection with food, particularly seasonally, stay close to RU Eats. We are going to provide a lot of lovely opportunities for people to get connected to the growing season as it’s about to open, and we’ll do our best to make it come alive on campus.”

To kick off the growing season, RUEats and Rye’s HomeGrown are preparing the ​Andrew and Valerie Pringle Environmental Green Roof​ on the George Vari Engineering and Computing Centre for planting. The groups have partnered to host a “Soil Day” event on May 1. A team from Student Affairs will haul 10 cubic yards of soil to the rooftop farm on the George Vari Engineering and Computer Centre. “It’s going to be like a fireman’s convoy of buckets and relays,” said Maharaj.

The rooftop has become a valuable resource and Rye’s HomeGrown a close partner to RU Eats, said Maharaj. “They have a CSA [Community Shared Agriculture agreement] and they have a market stand, and the deal I’ve made with them is that food services will buy everything else that they produce.

Rye’s HomeGrown will also celebrate Earth Day with a DIY Seed Bombs event today (April 22) noon to 1 p.m. at 60 Gould Street, where the Ryerson community is invited to bring wildflowers and native plants to depleted urban environments.

Ryerson’s Farmer’s Market will also return for the second year, with fresh local food every Wednesday 11 a.m to 3 p.m., May 13-Oct. 7 on Gould Street.

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